Wednesday, 28 August 2013
Duck Breast Confit with Baby Bok Choy and Shallots for Breakfast :)
I make no apologies. Eating this way is amazing. I feel completely sorted for the whole rest of the day. It probably seems extravagant, but it was actually very easy to prepare. The trick is my trusty old slow cooker crock. Just plug it in and leave it, and wake up, or come home, to something that smells amazing. The goose or duck fat is a little pricey, but can be re-used after straining. I don't eat this way every day, but for a treat now and then, it is nice special yum. I have some reflections on sumptuousness and emotional eating on another page.
So I bought frozen organic pastured duck filets (2). After defrosting them for a day in the fridge, I smothered them with salt, rubbing it into the flesh. Medium course sea salt is best for this. I used Himalayan rock salt this time, but it is actually a bit too strong. Sea salt is milder. So the salted filets then go back in glass bowl, covered, and left in the fridge for 24 hours.
The next day, I remove the filets, wash them thoroughly to remove all the salt, and actually, it is probably better to let them sit in some fresh water afterwoods for 10-15 minutes too. I neglected that step and ended up with confit that was still delicious but a bit more on the salty side than I prefer (my salt taste tolerance is quite low because I didn't eat it at all for years).
The filets are then patted dry with a cloth (don't use tissue - it will stick to it). I then put them in the crock pot side by side with the fat side down. I poured about 300g of goose fat over them (duck fat of course is fine too), just enough to cover the filets. I turned the cooker on its higher of the 2 settings and left it for about 4 hours. The time is not crucial. It might only need 2 hours, or you might leave it for 6 and still have a great result. The minimum is the time it takes for a fork to pass through the filets with no resistance. Then they are cooked.
I removed the filets, strained the fat through a fine sieve, then poured it back over them in a glass bowl. Refrigerated this covered until the next day but actually you could just leave it there up to a week or until you want to eat them. There is a traditional technique for storing them for longer (up to a few months), but I will explain that another time.
On the morning of reckoning.....I fished the filets out of the fat and cooked them on low heat in a cast iron pan covered (for about 15 minutes) until the fat-side was browned, then turned them over and cooked them until and other side was warmed and sizzling. I ensured that the fat on the duck was browned on all sides and crispy.
While that was happening I chopped 2 Asian shallots, and the stems only of 3 baby bok choy, added a dash of tumeric and some cracked pepper, and I sautéed these in another cast iron pan using some of the goose fat. I added 2 cloves of crushed garlic and the baby bok choy leaves just in the last 30 seconds, covered. This is just the time for the leaves to wilt slightly and the garlic to warm and release its flavour into the fat.
That's it. Garnished with a mouthful of beetroot/cabbage sauerkraut and sprinkle of unwashed organic ripped-up parsley.
If you like bacon and you have never tried confit.....you are missing out. The crispy skin is absolutely in the bacon genre of superlative delectability, only better. Need I say more?